The Syracuse Orange have made a good number of Sweet 16s since Jim Boeheim took over the program — 18 in all so far, and Friday’s matchup against the Duke Blue Devils is No. 19. SU is 7-11 in those contests, including three straight victories in 2012, 2013 and 2016, respectively.
A quick rundown of all of the games:
- 2016: No. 10 Syracuse 63, No. 11 Gonzaga 60
- 2013: No. 4 Syracuse 61, No. 1 Indiana 50
- 2012: No. 1 Syracuse 64, No. 4 Wisconsin 63
- 2010: No. 5 Butler 63, No. 1 Syracuse 59
- 2009: No. 2 Oklahoma 84, No. 3 Syracuse 71
- 2004: No. 8 Alabama 80, No. 5 Syracuse 71
- 2003: No. 3 Syracuse 79, No. 10 Auburn 78
- 2000: No. 1 Michigan State 75, No. 4 Syracuse 58
- 1998: No. 1 Duke 80, No. 5 Syracuse 67
- 1996: No. 4 Syracuse 83, No. 8 Georgia 81
- 1994: No. 1 Missouri 98, No. 4 Syracuse 88
- 1990: No. 6 Minnesota 82, No. 2 Syracuse 75
- 1989: No. 2 Syracuse 83, No. 3 Missouri 80
- 1987: No. 2 Syracuse 87, No. 6 Florida 81
- 1984: No. 7 Virginia 63, No. 3 Syracuse 55
- 1980: No. 5 Iowa 88, No. 1 Syracuse 77
- 1979: No. 9 Penn 84, No. 4 Syracuse 76
- 1977: Charlotte 81, Syracuse 59
Strangely, this decade -- Boeheim’s fourth full decade at the helm — has also managed to be his most successful in the NCAA Tournament (aside from not winning a title). Friday night will be Syracuse’s fifth Sweet 16 trip in the 2010s, which is the first time he’s ever pulled that off. It’s also his winningest decade of Sweet 16s already, since it’s the only one in which he’s won three times.
Despite that success, though, it’s clearly been the lowest-scoring decade of Sweet 16s for Syracuse as well. The Orange have never scored more than 64 points and never less than 59 during the four games of the 2010s so far. That would fit well with the narrative that this offense has put forward so far, and same goes for the defense (none of SU’s four Sweet 16 foes this decade have scored more than 63 points against them).
There’s also the matter of who the opponents have been. While there’s little to take from year to year, never mind decade to decade, weird trends are fun to look at just the same. Of the Orange’s 18 Sweet 16 opponents, just one (Missouri) repeated and Syracuse split those two games. Duke will be the second repeat foe.
SU has also faced a major conference opponent in 14 of the previous 18 regional semifinal games -- the exceptions being Gonzaga, Butler, Penn and Charlotte (and Syracuse went 1-3 in those matchups).
Syracuse will be facing an in-conference foe for the first time in the Sweet 16 this year when they take on Duke. However, they’ve faced ACC opponents two other times (Virginia, Duke) but are 0-2 in those contests.
This is the Orange’s first time being a No. 11 seed, so it stands to reason it’s their first Sweet 16 trip as one as well. They’re 1-0 as a double-digit seed in the Sweet 16, though they were the favorite according to seed in that 2016 Gonzaga game just the same. Syracuse is 1-4 as the underdog according to seeding. That lone win is against No. 1 Indiana in 2013 (en route to the Final Four), and they’re 1-3 against 1-seeds in the Sweet 16s. Duke is a No. 2 this year, and they’re 0-1 against those (2009 v.s Oklahoma). This is just the fourth time SU is not a top-four seed while making the Sweet 16.
Not listed above are the regions Syracuse inhabited during each of these games. SU is 4-3 in the East (including four straight), 1-3 in the West, 0-2 in the South, and 0-1 in both the Southeast and Mideast regions, respectively. The Orange are 2-1 in the Midwest, the region they won in 2016 and inhabit once again this season.
Two final interesting notes: Syracuse has made the Sweet 1 in the first year of a decade all four times Boeheim was around (1980, 1990, 2000, 2010). SU’s only other Sweet 16 season to end in an eight (as 2018 does)? That was 1998, which coincidentally was a loss to Duke.
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